Saturday, January 20, 2018

in a gadda da vida is awesome.

When I was 19 I bought Iron Butterfly's In A Gadda Da Vida on vinyl - partly out of curiosity, somewhat as a joke, mostly because it was only a dollar. At a time when I was swept up in noisecore and black metal, Iron Butterfly's (bell)bottom-heavy psychedelic rock was neither angry nor evil enough for me. Plus, due to its pop culture infamy, the song itself was something of a joke in 1998 - at 17 minutes, and with a built in drum solo, it represented the self-indulgent ostentatiousness of rock music prior to punk's cultural ascendance. "In A Gadda Da Vida" is simultaneously Iron Butterfly's signature song and an indictment of them.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Bandcamp Picks - Barshasketh/Outre, Väki, Grimtone, Narbeleth

Sein / Zeit is a truly great split from two of the more interesting black metal bands I've come across in recent years. New Zealand transplants Barshasketh's contribution is a regal, Dissection-ish affair, with a galloping midsection transitioning into a storming finish. On their end, Poland's Outre pulls back their more experimental tendencies, and go for broke with some thrashy blackened death metal that will tap your toes and snap your neck. The winner of this clash of talents? You. [£3]

Finland's Väki set the bar high with their debut EP. The two songs on Kirous recall the inroads towards progressive black metal made on IX Equilibrium - and not just because of the eerily accurate Ihsahn impression Väki's vocalist lays down. While the erstwhile Emperor frontman establishes himself as a Steve Wilson figure on black metal's fringes, Vaki's appropriations are most welcome. [€2]

With a name seemingly lifted from Metalocalypse, you'd be forgiven for thinking that Grimtone was a parody act and not a bonafide Swedish black metal band. But Memento Mori is a legit slab of Nordic darkness: A speedy, no-frills assault in the vein of Marduk and Dark Funeral. The northern skies are still a-blazing. [56 SEK]

It's been a while since I checked in with DoC friends Narbeleth, and I'm happy to report that they've had an eventful few years. With an icy guitar tone indifferent to its Caribbean origins, Indomitvs is a loving tribute to the early rush of second wave black metal, embellishing its frostbitten speed with headbanging riffs and folky melodies. Narbeleth is the best black metal band currently flying under everyone's radars (including mine - I completely missed this when it came out in the middle of last year). With more releases like this, they won't be overlooked for too much longer. [€7]

Monday, January 1, 2018

Sunday, December 31, 2017

2017: A Year to Survive

One of the more terrible years of my life is coming to a close. But before I get to say goodbye to 2017, I had to suffer through another fucking holiday season of appropriated pagan traditions, crass materialism and yuppie entitlement. Do you know anyone who hates Christmas? I mean, genuinely despises it? Well you do now.

Among the more useless traditions of the season is the year end list. As people gather around their screens to feel smug about how hip or "kvlt" their music choices are (delivered to them by the ür kvlt platforms of Spotify and Apple), I thought I'd try something a little different. Instead of "the ten best albums of 2017", I revisited releases by the bands who I've been listening to for a decade or more; the bands whose music shaped what I listen to - and in the case of one band, who I am.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Mixtape 40 - Rosetta

Here is the 40th installment of the Dreams of Consciousness podcast, featuring an interview with Matthew Weed and Eric Jernigan of Rosetta. Enjoy.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Bandcamp Picks - Godflesh, Thaw, Svartidauði, Gnaw

Stripped of the grime of their earliest albums, Godflesh still has the power to unsettle. In case you forgot about Justin Broadrick's extended dub phase, Post Self is here to remind you of the fact, following up where releases like Nihil and the temporarily shelved Messiah left off - with G.C. Green's bass anchoring Broadrick's ambient guitar to the most machine-like beats the duo have employed in decades. Robotic in the best possible way. [$8]

Thaw have embraced noise since their earliest recordings. Though the band has deep roots in Poland's vibrant death and black metal scenes, Grains is ostensibly a doom drone album, finding common ground with the likes of Black Boned Angel and Earth in both its monolithic assault and ambient interludes. A marriage of knuckle dragging hesherdom and chin-stroking experimentation. [$7.90]

Iceland's Svartidauði are themselves no strangers to avant garde weirdness. Their latest two song EP is a rabbit hole of nightmarish psychedelic black metal, with "Exultation" consisting of a single guitar melody repeated over shifting drum patterns. Two songs lasting 14 minutes - to ask for more would be to invite madness. [€2]

With a lineage that goes back to the genre-hopping grind of OLD and the proto-industrial of Ike Yard, Gnaw is a band that can be relied on to bring the noise. Cutting Pieces is album number three for the NY band, broadening their caustic sludge with experimental electronic music and Alan Dubin's tormented diatribes. As reassuring as a choir of dental drills. [$6.99]

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Bandcamp Picks - Rebaelliun, Degial, Krallice, Pile of Priests

It's good to know that DoC friends Rebaelliun are staying busy since their return. Though marketed as a "deluxe re-issue", half of Bringer Of War (The Last Stand) is new material recorded this year. The new songs show how the band has grown in 20 years: Still able to blast with the best of them but unafraid to inject some Bolt Thrower groove into their sound. Released back in 2000 and long out of print, the original Bringer of War EP helped establish a new generation of Brazilian death metal bands (including Krisiun, Abhorrence, and Mental Horror) who were faster and more vicious than any that came before them. This should go without saying, but expect no prisoners to be taken, and no fucks to be given. [€4.90]

Degial were always an oddity, being a Swedish death metal band who rode the old school revival wave with a style more indebted to Morbid Angel than Entombed. Predator Reign, their third album, is their most accomplished to date, and as blistering and frenetic as anything that's come out of Brazil or Poland. Geography is not destiny. [€6.66]

Krallice are nothing if not prolific - scant weeks after releasing their collaboration with Neurosis' Dave Edwards, the NY band has dropped their 8th album (and 11th release overall since 2008). Go Be Forgotten is the band's most straight forward release in years, utilizing the unrelenting speed and eerie atmospherics of second wave black metal and giving them that unique Krallice twist. For all the fluffier and less credible aspects of American black metal, there's no questioning this band when it comes to work ethic and musicianship. Krallice are simply in a class of their own. [$7]

Denver trio Pile of Priests probably don't see "living in the past" as a bad thing. The convoluted riffs and popping bass on their Tenebrous Labyrinth EP put them in closer alignment with the progressive bands on Roadrunner Records circa 1993 than anything in the modern "tech" or "djent" circles. Tacked on at the end are covers of Sadus, Coroner, and Kreator - in case you were wondering how far the fruit has fallen from the tech/thrash tree. [$5]

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Bandcamp Picks - Blaze of Perdition, Aosoth, Blut Aus Nord, Imperceptum

Blaze Of Perdition have survived tragedy to become one of the most interesting and intelligent bands to come out of Poland's celebrated metal scene. Abetted by a stellar production, Conscious Darkness uses the band's knack for blasting judiciously, focusing instead on atmosphere to create songs that are nothing less than monumental. Similar to the more restrained moments of the last Behemoth album, Blaze of Perdition have pushed black and death metal past cartoonish posturing and into real auteurship. [$7.90]

Formed by members of Antaeus and Order of Apollyon, Aosoth takes a more restrained and nuanced approach than its parent bands. Impenetrable on first listen, V: The Inside Scriptures isn't afraid of injecting some groove into its monolithic assault, in addition to the occasional noise interlude. Another reason why the French black metal scene is not to be ignored. [$7.90]

Of course, you can't bring up French avant garde black metal without mentioning Blut Aus Nord. Deus Salutis Meae transposes the band's unsettling discordance into industrial territory, upping the aura of bleakness in the process. An assault by machines of loathing disgrace. [€7.77]

Mysterious one man black metal project (is there another kind?) Imperceptum has had a busy year. The fifth release since 2016, Aeons of Saturnine Desolation leaves no question as to its creator's passion for droning ambient epics. Satan's wet/dry vacs gather for attack. The album is available as a "name your price" download.